Monday, June 18, 2018

What's a pivotal moment in your publication journey? (With Taylor Bennett!)

We are very excited to have teen author Taylor Bennett with us this week! Taylor was the winner of our #WeWriteBooks contest back in 2016 and her debut novel, Porch Swing Girl, has just released! You should definitely hop over to Taylor's website to read her publication story.

The first panel question this week is:

What's a pivotal moment in your publication journey, and how did it come about?

Taylor: I met my publisher, Mountain Brook Ink, at my first-ever writers conference. After being told for years that these mysterious places were where connections could be made and contracts signed, I decided to go and check one out for myself. I ended up at the Oregon Christian Writer's conference (an amazing summer conference! If you're in the area, come drop by and say hi!) and I had the opportunity to make appointments with several agents and editors.

One of those editors was Miralee Ferrell, the owner of Mountain Brook Ink. I pitched my book to her, and she was interested...very interested!! Fast-forward a year, after I had worked hard to polish my first draft of Porch Swing Girl and prepare a series proposal, and she offered me a contract. Yippee!

Shan: So many! Maybe the most actionable is the decision I made to seek out a critique group. Up until that point, I didn’t know anything about the rules of writing for publication and surrounding myself with other authors who could help me was crucial. I’m a big fan of discovering your people and holding onto them. It’s not always easy for introverted writers and it’s rarely straightforward to do that, but having other understanding souls as you journey down this very unique road will pay off in spades.

Jill: Mine was at the same conference as Taylor's! All my pivotal moments happened at the Oregon Christian Writers’ Summer Conference. I pitched what became By Darkness Hid at that conference to Jeff Gerke, who later bought it. I pitched Replication to Zondervan at that conference. And I met my agent there. I highly recommend writing conferences. They are the best place to meet editors and agents face to face.

Stephanie: Choosing to not give up on a manuscript … but also humbling myself to listen to what wasn’t working. This could be said about all my published books, because even after you’re published, each novel requires a blend of persistence and humility. 

This was especially true for the book that became the first in the Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series when I kept hearing that Skylar wasn’t likable. I felt like that was part of her character arc, but eventually realized that this was a common problem, and nobody wants to read a book about someone they don’t like.

Writers, what about you? What's something pivotal that happened in your writing journey?


  1. For me, it was when my mom heard my reading part of my book out loud and later told me I should pray about publishing. I did and seven years later, I have four books self published! God is so good! He has blessed me with an amazing editing team and I wouldn't trade them for anything!

  2. This makes me so excited for the writer's conference I'm going to this fall! Working several hours every day to get my stuff in decent shape . . . hoping to get it all done in time ;D And love seeing Taylor on here! For me . . . I don't see a huge moment but a bunch of tiny moments. Writing contest on a knitting sight, GTW 100 for 100, story ideas that CAME with endings, and people telling me, "that's actually good."

  3. For me it was actually... not publishing. Last year I was planning on publishing a novel this March, but I made a lot of mistakes with it as I was planning.
    Firstly, I realized as I was editing (which was after I'd gotten a bunch of other things in motion; not a good idea) that there wasn't enough emphasis on the actual plot. I hadn't known where to go next at one point and tossed them into a random labyrinth that had no bearing on the actual plot. Plus my characters weren't really that well developed and there was just a lot wrong with the story itself.
    Then I hired an editor without actually communicating with her. I was looking for an editor and my best friend's honorary aunt offered for less than any of the editors I've been looking at, so I accepted. Turned out she was a copy-editor when I was looking for a developmental editor. (Which is not to say that you shouldn't get someone you know to edit, particularly if you know someone is a good editor, but make sure you get the right kind of editor. XP)
    I also bought a cover way earlier than I should have and now it's sitting on my computer where it may stay for the rest of my life.
    So while my first attempt was a disaster (which I cancelled in February), it taught me a lot of really valuable lessons and now I'm working toward publishing again with a much better idea of how to actually go through the process right. :)

    1. That's wonderful that you had the wisdom to put on the brakes! Lots of valuable lessons in there!

    2. It took me a while to finally get to the point where I could let it go (I didn't want to let down all the people I'd told I was publishing and all the people who'd contributed to the payment of my editor), but I'm glad I did. I wouldn't have been proud of that book if I'd just gone ahead and published it, and I want my first published novel to be something I can be proud of.

    3. That takes tremendous amount of courage. I'm really impressed by your choice!

  4. THANK YOU so much for joining us, Taylor. What a wonderful memory that must be. God bless, Miralee.

  5. This is nice!Especially for young people who has the talent to express their feelings through writing. Teens should take a look at this.